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Israel – Hamas War

Ten days of fighting in the Gaza Strip have again illustrated the dilemma of when, how, and under what conditions the campaign should be ended. While Hamas achieved the goals that it set for itself at the outset of the campaign – positioning itself as the defender of al-Aqsa and Jerusalem and leading the Palestinians in the struggle against Israel – Israel has not freed itself from the logic that guided its actions in previous rounds of conflict with Hamas, centering on strong deterrence. The strategic objective that the Israeli government should have formulated is attaining control over the conflict arena and preventing its expansion to additional arenas, while focusing on weakening Hamas – preventing it from gaining control over the Palestinian arena, reversing its military capabilities to at least their level of a decade ago, creating new rules of the game in the Palestinian arena, and restoring the Palestinian Authority to the status of the exclusive representative of the Palestinians, while looking ahead to the day after Abbas.

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